High Springs businesses raise funds for Our Santa Fe River

Two businesses in High Springs raised $1,000 on Saturday to help support the Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) organization fight a bottling permit recently approved by the Suwanee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

Despite the river being listed as “in recovery” by the SRWMD, the state water board on Feb. 23 unanimously approved “with protest” a consumptive use permit for Seven Springs, the company that owns Ginnie Springs.

The permit allows the pumping of 1 million gallons a day for Nestle’s bottling plant. The OSFR has combined with other environmental and community organizations to appeal the decision.

Florida Creamery customers

The event on Saturday was held to help with legal expenses in appealing that ruling and to help educate the public on the situation.

The Florida Creamery located downtown on Highway 27 has been selling ice cream in High Springs for the past two years. Owner Angela Wilcox decided to celebrate the anniversary by donating $500 to the OSFR and offering a free scoop of ice cream to anyone who donated $10 to the OSFR.

Wilcox said she believes in supporting the community and environmental causes and has held this event for OSFR both years she has been here. She has also donated money to Florida Conservation, North Florida Land, Florida Wildlife and various wildlife rehabs.

“I strongly believe that everybody has a responsibility to support the community and land we live in,” she said. “I wish I could do it on a grander scale, but I do whatever I can to support these organizations.”

Next door, at Bambi’s Cafe, the OSFR had a display table set up where people could get information about the river and the threats it faces. People could make the $10 donation to get the free ice cream and enter for prizes that were donated by other local businesses including Rum 138, Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies, Lion’s Lair Boutique and Unique Notions.

Bambi Liss, the owner of Bambi’s Cafe, also contributed to the fundraising by hosting a reservation-only, all organic Italian dinner. The dinner cost $25 and 20 percent of that went to the OSFR. The extensive meal included cream of porcini mushroom soup, organic bruschetta and pasta primavera with vegetables from Bambi’s farm. The dessert was a vegan ice cream, topped with organic chocolate and strawberries supplied by the Florida Creamery.

The OSFR incorporated in Florida in 2007 to fight the attempts by four bottling companies to obtain permits to remove water from the Santa Fe River.

Although they were previously successful in keeping companies from getting the permits, the organization realized that there were many other issues affecting the health of the river and surrounding environment.

They have continued working to protect the waters and lands supporting the aquifer, springs and rivers within the Santa Fe River watershed.

According to OSFR President Mike Roth, Saturday’s event was a great success.

“We raised almost $1,000 to help support the legal fight over the bottling permit and help protect our treasured springs and river from further damage,” he said. “It was a great night with the help of our local businesses.”

Bambi's Cafe'
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